Royal Marine manslaughter conviction - the evidence

Published: 31st Mar 2017

“Sergeant Blackman… actually saved those 24 people who would have been called out to rescue the Taliban fighter. Now I actually think it was probably a mercy killing by shooting that man on the ground, because he would have died anyway.”

“I know that we’ve seen the footage of him shooting the person being killed on the ground, and I feel that person should have been taken a prisoner not killed in cold blood.”

BBC Question Time audience members, 30 March 2017

We’re not here to factcheck people’s opinions on the Alexander Blackman case, or offer our own interpretation.

We can clarify what evidence about the case is in the public domain and point you to it so that you can make up your own mind.

Sergeant Blackman ended up before a court martial for shooting a wounded Taliban insurgent because army investigators stumbled across recordings of the incident taken by another soldier.

The Court of Appeal refused to order the release of the most graphic clips to the media, accepting that they would be used in terrorist propaganda and “significantly endanger a large number of people”.

Only three of the six clips have been officially released, not including the clip showing the actual shooting.

Differently edited versions of the three video clips that have been released are available on a number of media websites.

There is also a transcript and audio recording of the clips, not released as video, that discuss and include the shooting.

These clips have been summarised by the courts on several occasions, mostly recently by the Court Martial Appeal Court, which decided on 15 March to downgrade Sergeant Blackman’s conviction from murder to manslaughter.

Its four-page summary, starting on paragraph 12, is a particularly valuable summary of the events.

This factcheck is part of a roundup of BBC Question Time. Read the roundup.


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